Evil Geek Book Report – Scarlet Spider Vol. 2: Lone Star
That old Parker luck isn’t just for the natural born; apparently it extends into the realm of cloning as well. I feel if you’re reading this you already have an idea who Scarlet Spider is. If not you can feel free to catch up with the beginning of his saga in Vol. 1. It’s cool, I’ll wait here.
Volume 2 covers issues #7-9 (The Second Master storyline) and issues #12.1-14. Issue #10 and 11 were compiled as part of the less than stellar Minimum Carnage crossover including Scarlet Spider, Venom and (surprise!) Carnage. It’s better off for all parties involved keeping that out of Volume 2.
Issue 12.1 is a one and done that serves as a palette cleanser and a great jumping on point. Kaine is tipped off about a human trafficking ring that’s huge in Houston. In the first issue of the series, Kaine saved Aracely from one such ring and has since more or less become her guardian. Besides the obvious disgust this hits home for him. What follows is page after page showing what Scarlet Spider does best, going from neighborhood to neighborhood beating the asses of local gangs without remorse until he can get some answers.
As he gets one step closer to the person behind this he takes two steps back when he is confronted by the ninja group, The Hand. A great fight scene is played out as we see Scarlet Spider take on a horde of ninjas as well as the Mark, the man behind the scenes. This comes to a strange and abrupt halt as someone steps in and brutally kills the Mark. Apparently, Kingpin who controls The Hand is taking control of Houston personally. If he is involved in the future of the series, I have a lot to be excited about.
Issues #13-15 is a 3 part story arc titled “In The Midst Of Wolves” things get darker and stranger for Kaine. The girl Aracely, that Kaine had rescued way back when has always exhibited something that was mysterious, but she was never really a main focus of any of the stories. Here we see her having some kind of mystic vision with a talking coyote, Aztec Gods, her parents that (she didn’t know about) being tortured and lots of cryptic talking about her being a left handed hummingbird, mictlan rising and the wolves coming from her.
Shortly afterward, her and Kaine are out discussing her vision and we soon find out about the wolves. Part of the Lobo Cartel which has something to do with the human trafficking, Arana Lobo and Carlos Lobo are enforcers who can transform into werewolves (and brother to Eduardo Lobo of late 80’s Spider-Man fame) who have been sent to slaughter Aracely (to fulfill a prophecy?). Scarlet Spider steps in to protect her. They absolutely shred Kaine and leave him for dead.
Kaine of course doesn’t die, but he’s visited by a modern Spider-Man foe (one from what I understand who wasn’t very well received) who makes him a deal that involves letting him live if he gives into the hatred and evilness inside him that he’s been trying to outrun. If you don’t know, I won’t ruin it for you as I’d imagine it would be an interesting reveal to some people. I had no idea who the character was so it was a bit lost on me.
Ultimately, I’m left undecided about this final arc. Things are very muddled and purposely left unclear, which I assume will be revealed further down the line. I’m all for the darkness that envelopes this story since at the heart of this series that’s what Kaine is always fighting against. What concerns me is the mystical elements. Scarlet Spider (and by extension Spider-Man) works best as a street level hero in “realistic” situations. We got a taste of taking Kaine out of his element in the Minimum Carnage crossover, putting him into outer space and in my humble opinion it didn’t work. It always felt a little off. With that said though, I trust writer Chris Yost he’s been able to handle things pretty perfectly thus far. Khoi Pham remains on art duties and seems to be getting the hang of it more and more with each issue and I’m certainly warming up to him.
So what’s next for Scarlet Spider? It’s hard to say, but I think we are in the make ‘em or break ‘em stage. We are in year 2 after all. I’m optimistic, but how this plays out may have me concerned with whether or not I can stay with the book. Don’t let me down guys!
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